What Is Green Tomato Salsa?

Green tomato salsa is made with unripe tomatoes.
Green zebra tomatoes can be used to make an especially tart and spicy green tomato salsa.
Green tomato salsa, or salsa verde, is used in many Latin dishes.
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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2014
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Green tomato salsa is just one of dozens of recipes that specifically call for green tomatoes. Tomatoes are a summer standard in many backyard gardens. Though there is at least one variety of tomato that is green-when-ripe, green tomatoes are simply red tomatoes that haven’t completely ripened. People often look for ways to make their tomatoes ripen off the vine, but instead they can be used to create new recipes, such as green tomato salsa.

Most people think of salsa as red; and it typically is when made from ripe, red tomatoes. Salsa isn’t always red though. Other relish type foods, like green tomato relish, piccalilli, and chow chow are similar in appearance if not taste, and all use a green tomato base. The primary difference between green tomato salsa or salsa verde and green tomato relish is simply the ingredients.

The common components of a salsa are tomatoes, peppers, onions and cilantro. Other ingredients vary by recipe, ranging from the use or elimination of specific spices like garlic, cumin, etc. to the type of pepper used — mild, sweet, hot, red, green, and so on. For green tomato salsa, simply use any salsa recipe and add the corresponding amount of green tomatoes as called for.


Similarly, tomatillo salsa, which is greenish salsa made with tomatillos, can also be made by substituting green tomatoes for the tomatillos. Tomatillos come from a plant that produces small, greenish fruit. In Mexico, where these plants are indigenous, tomatillos are known as the green tomato or husk tomato. They have an outer husk, which may or may not be used in cooking. Though they are related to the tomato family, tomatillos are not the same genus as the tomato.

A green tomato has numerous uses as an ingredient. Before allowing your tomatoes to vine ripen, or forcing them to ripen in a paper bag, consider trying new recipes with your garden’s yield of unripe tomatoes. From fried green tomatoes to green tomato cake, there are a plethora of things you can make. When trying to decide what to do with an unripe tomato crop, consider exploring new recipes specifically listing green tomatoes as an ingredient.


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